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Becoming a great salesperson

Most people think anyone can be a good sales person but in reality it’s a highly skilled profession.

Here, we look at some of the fundamental skills, qualities and personality traits you need to succeed. 


To be successful, you need people to believe in you and the product you’re offering. This is impossible if you don’t believe in yourself. You also need to be able to take knock-backs as rejection is part of the parcel of working in sales. At the same time, you shouldn’t go overboard as arrogance can be a big turn off.

Persistence is a sales person’s number one asset in the face of the many challenges they will be presented with on a day-to-day basis.

Ability and willingness to listen

The most successful salespeople listen to their clients. Rather than launching into a meeting or call with an over-rehearsed spiel, you should be able to listen to what a client actually wants and adapt your sales pitch and/or business proposal accordingly. If you speak in terms that your client can directly relate to by, for example, showing them the money you can specifically save or make them, you are far more likely to strike a chord.

The ability to maintain focus

Having said all this, you need a clear understanding of the ‘sales process’, from how you target and approach appropriate leads to how you approach sales meetings. Ultimately, you should never lose sight that it’s your job to sell and generate revenue. Being goal driven is in the DNA of any successful sales professional.

Strong communication skills

To be a successful sales person, you need to be strong on the phone to get your foot in the door at a client and then strong in meetings to ultimately close a deal. But - most importantly of all – you’ll need excellent communication skills to recognise the individual characteristics and needs of your clients. You’re ultimately looking to gain their trust and become an advisor they turn to. Being able to have a consultative sales approach is a hot skill in the sales jobs market.


In sales, things rarely go according to plan. Even if you’ve got yourself in a position where a client trusts you implicitly, there’s always going to be a curve ball waiting for you just around the corner. You need to be ready for this and should always be thinking about your plans B, C and D. If your client suddenly decides your offer isn’t right for them, you need to be able to offer them an alternative.

A hunger to learn

Customers tend to trust and respect knowledgeable salespeople. By the same token, they will also lost interest at the first mistake made by a salesperson who is unprepared. You should therefore be seeking to learn about their product, industry and competitors at every available opportunity. This knowledge is what will ultimately allow you to be the trusted advisor you’re seeking to become. 


Persistence is a sales person’s number one asset in the face of the challenges they will be presented with on a day-to-day basis. If you’re the sort of person who gives up at the first sign of difficulty, sales is not for you. Whether a deal is rejected, a competitor makes an improvement to their product offering or a business you have been dealing with can’t afford the minimum price set by your company, you need to be able to react positively.

Essentially, you need to understand that you’ll put a lot of work into deals that ultimately come to nothing. But – at the same time – there’s another opportunity just round the corner.

Interested in the knowing how your compensation package compares to other sales professionals in the UK? Benchmark your salary with our free Salary Guide 2024.


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